Andrew Moratzka

Andrew Moratzka

Andrew Moratzka is an energy/regulatory attorney and co-chair of Stoel Rives’ energy team. He represents large industrial customers and independent power producers in various regulatory matters at the state and federal level, regularly appearing before public utilities commissions and administrative law judges. Drew also consults on utility contract negotiations and various legislative matters.

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MN PUC Establishes New Environmental Costs for Use in All Proceedings

Today, the MN PUC concluded a nearly four-year effort on updating environmental costs established under section 216B.2422 subd. 3 of the Minnesota Statutes.  Before getting to the decision, a bit of context. Background: Under section 216B.2422, the MN PUC is required to, “to the extent practicable, quantify and establish a range of environmental costs associated with each … Continue Reading

MPUC Approves Multi-Year Rate Case Settlement, Opens Docket to Develop Performance Metrics

Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) approved a settlement between Xcel Energy and various intervening stakeholders, to resolve the revenue requirement issues in Xcel Energy’s pending multi-year rate increase.  The MPUC appeared to struggle with accepting the settlement in lieu of the full evidentiary record it is used to on financial issues.  Nonetheless, it … Continue Reading

Likely and Potential Impacts of Yesterday’s Energy Independence Executive Order

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order (the “Order”) has now been posted on the White House website, a summary of which can be found here.  Over the last week, many pundits and industry insiders have speculated on its contents, with many having a fairly clear crystal ball on … Continue Reading

Brief Overview of President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order

Section 1 of the Order sets forth various policy objectives, many of which (e.g., clean, reliable, affordable, safe energy) are goals that should garner bi-partisan support.  How these policies are interpreted by the various heads of agencies will be one factor guiding America’s energy future.  Another policy factor may be critical, contained in section 1(d), … Continue Reading

President Trump Holds Press Conference and Signs Energy Independence Executive Order

President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives.  Secretary Perry started by noting it … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Panel Rules Minnesota Climate Change Law Unconstitutional

Today, the Eighth Circuit determined that the Next Generation Energy Act (“NGEA”), a Minnesota law that established power sector standards for carbon dioxide emissions, was unconstitutional (decision available here). In so doing, the Court affirmed the decision of District Court Judge Susan Nelson, whose 2014 decision we covered in “Court Declares Minnesota Coal Law Unconstitutional: … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Partner Jon Wellinghoff to Join SolarCity as Chief Policy Officer

I just wanted to pass along word to readers that Stoel Rives partner and Renewable + Law blog author Jon Wellinghoff will be leaving us to join SolarCity as their new Chief Policy Officer. Read SolarCity’s  official announcement. We’ve enjoyed working with Jon as a member of the Stoel Rives Energy Team. We’d like to … Continue Reading

Minnesota Governor Appoints New PUC Commissioner

Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Matthew Schuerger to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC).  Mr. Schuerger will replace Commissioner Betsy Wergin, whose term expired January 4, 2016.  Governor Dayton’s Press Release can be found here. The MPUC consists of five commissioners appointed by the governor to six-year, staggered terms. Under Minnesota … Continue Reading

BREAKING NEWS: Xcel Energy Announces Commitment to Cease Coal-Fired Operations at Sherco Units 1 and 2

Xcel Energy announced this afternoon its intent to cease coal-fired generation at Sherco Units 1 and 2 in 2026 and 2023, respectively, while adding 1,200 MW of new renewable sources (800 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar) by 2020.  According to the Xcel Energy website, Sherco Unit 1 has a generating capacity of 680 MW … Continue Reading

Community Solar Update: PV Magazine and Solar Industry Magazine

Community solar (“CSG”) is the topic of two articles we authored in the September editions of PV Magazine and Solar Industry Magazine. Titled “Care in the Community” (PV Magazine) and “Proof of Concept: Community Solar is Ready to Soar Despite Complications” (Solar Industry Mag), the articles consider the launch of The National Community Solar Partnership … Continue Reading

Gov. Dayton Signs 2015 Jobs and Energy Bill into Law

On Saturday, June 13, Governor Dayton signed the 2015 Jobs and Energy Bill into Law.  Our prior coverage of this bill can be found here and here.  The following amendments were made after the Governor’s veto: New definitions for “propane,” “propane storage facility,” and “synthetic gas.” New net metering provision that applies to cooperative electric … Continue Reading

MN Special Session Jobs and Energy Bill Posted

As a follow up to our prior coverage, Governor Dayton vetoed the jobs and energy bill that passed in the final few minutes of the 2015 regular legislative session.  Governor Dayton’s veto letter can be found here. After significant negotiations, the legislature finally posted a revised version of the legislation in its 2015 1st Special … Continue Reading

Sprint to the Finish! Fast Work at the Conclusion of the 2015 Minnesota Legislative Session Results in Few but Significant Energy Policy Changes

In a literal sprint to the finish, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill, which included energy policy provisions as part of a Senate Floor Amendment, just seconds before the State constitutional deadline. Pertinent energy policy provisions were included in Article 3 of that amendment and are briefly summarized below: If the MN PUC orders a … Continue Reading

Rep. Garofalo Posts Bold Minnesota Energy Omnibus Bill

Late this afternoon, Rep. Pat Garofalo posted a bold and significant omnibus bill on the web page for the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives.  This author has not gone through the bill in detail, but calls out the following provisions as noteworthy based on a quick review … Continue Reading

MN PUC Approves First Minnesota Multiyear Plan, But Work Remains on Implementation

Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (the “Commission”) met to address the first general rate case filed under section 216B.16 subd. 19 of the Minnesota Statutes. Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota Corporation, d/b/a Xcel Energy submitted the multiyear rate petition on November 4, 2013. In that petition, Xcel Energy asked for an increase in … Continue Reading

ALJ Recommends MN PUC Partially Disallow Xcel Energy’s $400 Million Cost Overrun on Monticello Project

Today marked the release of the highly anticipated report and recommendations from the Administrative Law Judge tasked with reviewing Xcel Energy’s handling of the life cycle management and extended power uprate (LCM/EPU) projects  The MN PUC initiated review of the LCM/EPU projects at the conclusion of Xcel Energy’s 2012 electric rate case after learning that … Continue Reading

Minnesota Community Solar Gardens Forecast: Partly Sunny with a Chance of Rain

Within days of its open on December 12, 2014, Xcel Energy’s Minnesota Community Solar Garden (CSG) Program had well over 300 MW worth of CSG applications submitted and by this writing nearly 430 MW.  The rush of significant application creates a question of “who’s in line first?”  That was the question before the Minnesota Public … Continue Reading

Initial Take: Xcel Energy’s 2016-2013 Integrated Resource Plan for Minnesota

Today, Xcel Energy filed its 2016 – 2030 Integrated Resource Plan.  Xcel Energy’s proposal is fairly significant in scope – it proposes to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030, add new renewable and natural gas generating resources, and lay the stage for reforming the resource planning process conistent with its framework filing and proposals from … Continue Reading

Xcel Energy Submits Framework Filing in Response to e21 Report

Today, Northern States Power Company, d/b/a Xcel Energy, submitted a filing to initiate a discussion with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission regarding the recently released e21 Phase I Report (see our blog post here).  Key components of Xcel Energy’s proposal to begin implementing the e21 Initiative’s vision include: Lead the effort to achieve carbon reduction by 40% … Continue Reading

Minnesota Stakes its Claim as a National Leader on Energy Regulatory Reform with Release of e21 Report

Today marks the release of the highly anticipated report from the Minnesota e21 Initiative (e21 stands for 21st Century Energy System).  The Great Plains Institute assembled a diverse range of stakeholders, including utilities, ratepayer advocates, environmental advocates, and independent power producer advocates, to discuss regulatory reform in Minnesota to accomodate anticipated changes to our energy system.  The e21 … Continue Reading

To Need or Not to Need, that is the Question: MN PUC Answers in the Affirmative

On Monday, the MN PUC addressed whether ‘tis nobler in the pocketbook to suffer the slings and arrows of the MISO market or to invest in new generating units against a sea of uncertainty. As we noted in prior blogs, the MN PUC initiated the competitive process seeking bids to meet a claimed capacity need … Continue Reading

Xcel Announces Launch Date for its Community Solar Garden Program

Xcel announced this morning that it plans to open its Community Solar Garden program next Friday, December 12, 2014 at 9:00 AM CST. In its filing, the company attempts to clarify the “first-ready, first-served” application process it plans to follow. The company explains that Garden operators can view a time stamp marking when the application … Continue Reading

Energizing Discussion at Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Offices

I had the honor this morning to feature on a panel of experts convened by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal to discuss the topic of ”The Future of Energy.” Moderated by John Kearney of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, the panel included Kenneth Smith, President and CEO of Ever-Green Energy, Ken Bradley, Director of … Continue Reading
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